Paddle Florida's Wilderness Waterway
Flamingo doesnt issue permits north of the Broad River and if you start at Flamingo they have to call to the Gulf Coast Ranger Station. Several parties on a small platform isnt going to be productive: there is no permitting process in place yet for the Gulf Coast jurisdiction campsites. Beaches in general are more tolerant of crowds. Your deposit at low tide does not necessarily go off sailing in the ocean. It can wind up at your favorite sitting spot.
We are going at the end of February for five days. Its always full of birds but like the Nightmare its constricted.
Time will tell. Thanks I forgot to link that One friend did some paddling in the islands north of the park. There are many more miles of this difficult section of the Wilderness Waterway to cover, I don't want to get trapped in it tonight.
Embarkation Nightmare - Port Everglades
I make one 90 degree turn then another, another, another. Each develops just beyond the next in the opposite direction, what a quagmire. It is sort of like a very tight canoe slalom course - if you have ever tried to turn an It does take some effort!
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- Nightmare in the Everglades By Beverley Armstrong-Rodman!
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The leeboard and rudder helped immensely, I could usually build up a little speed before entering most turns then put the nose right where it needed to be. Unfortunately there was not always adequate time which forced a reverse and reentry. All along a tide is moving through in one direction or another. You might think a tide moving with you would be helpful but is really is just the opposite.
With a following tide it forced the stern around or put the nose in the wrong spot too early.
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In addition my mind was working overtime figuring which path would get me through and which stuck. Backing a long canoe against a current in a tight spot is not so easy. On the other hand a gentle head current allows more freedom of movement and time to analyze the upcoming obstacles more accurately. Vines hang from trees in eerie configurations and that means Spiders With the head net, gloves, and every other bit of skin covered, I just kept at it.
I began to wounder if I would ever get to the other side. I would not plot the course at the time from the GPS for fear of knowing how much more was ahead. Don't get me wrong, I am on a spiritual high and really loving this, but a fear of some impassable fallen tree lurked strongly.
Should I need to turn back would not only mean defeat but just as much time to get out as in and the tide is now falling. The outrigger is snugly against the side of the hull but even so it still catches on tree limbs both over and underwater. A few times 'Robinson Calusa' was brought to a sudden halt when a limb flipped up from the bottom at an inopportune moment.. Looks like scene two of The Nightmare is now showing. The second half always leads up to the finale.
This is the leaning and pulling part two, little room for paddling here, it is one fallen tree after the next. It is really taking some time to figure a path through, almost every 20 feet is another fallen tree and the only way through always seems to be on the opposite side of what little waterway there is available.
This is pretty typical of the fallen trees. Notice the previously cut branches on the left - thank you Nightmare caretakers, most appreciated.
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Without these cut limbs the passage would be near impossible in a heavily loaded canoe such as 'Robinson Calusa'. I don't think I could drag "RC" over some of these trees and with no place to set the contents for portage I just don't know There are many strange and unusual tree formations in The Nightmare. Some trees fall over and continue growing on their sides.
Lunch with the sharks: paddling the Everglades
There are quite a few like this found through The Nightmare. This is another one of those sharp right then immediate left turns, made countless times passing through this exotic landscape. I'm still worried about a fresh tree down that could stop me in my tracks. As the day ticks on the chances of backtracking grow slim, I can only imagine trying to negotiate this place in the dark. Swamp Angle did just that in an early start to catch the tide right.
Click here for the Everglade Diary "Swamp Angle". Finally, another opening, I'm hoping this is the end of my Nightmare. I swing the outrigger back out to it's normal position, the additional stability is very comforting. I soon hit Broad River, hang a right, and a short distance up is my destination, the Broad River Campsite.
I'm really tired from a day of mystery and this is a welcome site. No one here so it looks as though I will have the entire place to myself.